2020 was a tough year for almost everyone and definitely a year to forget for our scene. Events and gigs canceled, venues closed, artists lacking a way to earn a decent living and club culture facing a threat like never before.
In the midst of these events were several people / organizations who tried to ease the pain, offering out some comfort by releasing music to people for free or by pay as you want download. This was always done, but this year I noticed that more and more artists are doing this.
Here is a selection of albums and compilations I came across this year and that I think is worth mentioning again.
Continue reading “2020 Giveaways”
Strange anomalies are scattered throughout the world. Things that could not possibly belong to the time period or place in which they were found. These so called out of place artifacts baffle historians & archaeologists up until today and have inspired producers Vril & Rødhåd to write a collaborative concept album. As a result the two producers got together in the studio with the idea to subvert the expectations of their previous work. They experimented over two sessions in 2018 and 2019, resulting in a record showcasing a different palette of sounds and tempo. The album is suited for deep listening and exploring aforementioned concepts or introspection in general. A mystic tone is set from the start, and grips the listener throughout the whole run time. Each track encapsulates this notion in its own unique form, blending sonic ambience and complex beats that reaches spectral heights. Both producer’s styles shine individually, but the collaboration achieves something greater than the sum of its parts.
RØDHÅD has continuously pushed the boundaries of modern techno to new hypnotic and theatrical heights on his Dystopian party-turned-label imprint, where he released his debut Anxious back in 2017. This time, RØDHÅD tunes into a place of reflection and reformation on his most avant-garde project to date: WSNWG – BACK TO ZERO. Intended to provide a space for solo releases, the imprint comes at a crucial turning point, as society circles in on itself during the pandemic. RØDHÅD christens the label with MOOD, his first ambient experimentalist release, comprised of his own solo archival material mostly from 2017/2018, working on a plane of spontaneity, devoid of set structures. The result is a life-giving, intimate and solipsistic work. Awash with field recordings, droning loops and subtle granulations, the sparse soundscapes on the 18- track album are deeply profound and satisfying. Crafting emotive textures through detailed layering of ethereal pads and simple synth melodies on ‘When They Returned After Midnight’ reflects the producer’s meditative sensibilities, whilst more beat-driven tracks such as ‘He Didn’t Seem The Kind of Guy Who Would Just Talk To A Stranger’ and ‘Pigeons Dancing On The Roof’ employ trip-hop beats atop washed synths and textural loops for a more downtempo affair. The album often has the dynamics of a sci-fi film score; the slow-building distortion on ‘A Huge Plume of Ash Rose From a Volcano’ carries a profound weight and substance, whilst the eerie ‘Like Sleepwalkers Ghosting Through A Dream’ breathes as if it had a life of its own.
In light of the current Covid-19 Pandemic Studio Enisslab headed up by Italian DJ / Producer and Live Act Neel has announced the release of a very special 56 track charity compilation project, fundraising for The Red Cross, who are working extremely hard alongside health services internationally that are feeling the effects of the corona-virus outbreak the most right now. The compilation is available for a limited time via Bandcamp and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to The Red Cross to help the world’s most affected countries in the Covid-19 pandemic.
This special release features over 6 hours of previously unreleased and unheard material, where an all star cast of artists were encouraged to share music that reflects this time we are living in.
Neel, who is one half of live duo Voices From The Lake, and LF58 speaks out on behalf of the initiative, organised in collaboration with improvised live project Circle Of Live, and visual art collective Sbagliato. He explains:
“In this situation we all need to look after each other and this project is a start. I wanted to reach as many people as possible to spread this message, so I started to share the idea personally with lots of artists and the response was amazing. I wanted them to take their time with whichever tools they had available at home to produce some music that reflects this time we are living in, a contribution for this special project and to portray a special message.”
The project’s cover art image brought to you by visual art collective Sbagliato shows pictures of windows of houses and studios taken by the artists themselves: 56 musicians, 56 windows, 56 tracks shape a new place of sharing.
Over the last 10 years Token Records has grown steadily, both in size and stylistic breadth. The aptly-titled Momentum comes as a celebration of the close-knit family of artists amassed throughout the label’s running. The record is a fitting collaborative project, with every track on the album produced by two longstanding and well-respected artists from the label’s roster and especially commissioned for the release. This type of collaboration is intended to showcase the specific sound of the label, developed through 10 years of careful curation, as well as bringing out the individual identities of the artists involved.
Culminating the cycle and international success of his debut album, Daniel Avery releases New Energy, a collection of remixes including six new reworks. Rødhåd proves why he’s the most exciting new name in techno by turning Drone Logic into a pulsing, peak-time behemoth whilst Silent Servant shows off his trademark, industrial tinged mastery on the previously ambient Spring 27. To complete this 12”, Volte-Face, owner of London’s vital experimental night BleeD, enters the production world with a beautiful and ecstatic re-imagining of Platform Zero.
Dystopian unveil their most comprehensive release yet, a 2×12″ featuring music from label regulars and newcomers Gotzkowsky, Ron Albrecht and Vril. Recondite opens the compilation with a straight-laced but dirty techno production. Don Williams throws down some pumping four-four beats, while Gotzkowsky and Alex.Do venture down a gurgling bleep hole of techno. Distant Echoes was responsible for the label’s release before this, and here the shady producer delivers more gloomy, industrial deepness. Vril lightens things up with his famous chords, although a little disorientating this time, while man of the moment Rodhad goes big with a synth line you’ll never forget. Ron Albrecht then completes the EP with a slab of Fachwerk-like techno, swapping funk for hard-nosed beats.
If you are looking for a massive slab of techno, you won’t find anything released this week that’s as hefty as Aphelion. A triple vinyl box set from Belgian label Token, Aphelion is essentially a primer for the best in contemporary techno, featuring contributions from Surgeon, Rodhad, James Ruskin, Karenn and Planetary Assault System alongside some label regulars. You will have probably already heard “Fixed Action Pattern” from Surgeon, it’s possibly one of this year’s finest techno 12″s, but it’s got some stiff competition here with Ruskin in particularly funked up form on “No Trace”.
Red Rising out of the ruins dystopian producer and mastermind Rødhåd follow up with his third EP on Dystopian since 2012. In three tracks between hell and mars, the red techno man shows his amazing melancholic and deep style.
Arguably the two biggest R’s in techno at the moment remix [Phase], with Rodhad revealing a more emotive side to his techno, while Robert Hood delivers the goods like only he can. Rodhad’s interpretation takes away some of the original low-end heard in “Perplexed”, resulting in something that’s groovy, but still tough, while noticeable increasing the blue-noted tones of the track. Robert Hood’s love affair with “Dirto II” continues with the Detroit legend joining in on the cold temperaments for a clinical and percussively slicing remix. With rapid fire 12″s like this, it seems trying to match Token’s dominance of club techno at the moment would be a futile act.
Par Grindvik and Function are invited guests remixers for Dystopian artists Felix K and Rodhad.
Round 4 at the Dystopian camp, this time with Alex.Do, Rødhåd and Felix K.
Deep twisted darker techno by Berlin’s Rodhead on Token label.